Stool Eating: Your Dog’s Dirty Little Secret

“I could go for a snack!”

It’s the stuff of which nightmares are made. Your best pal, Ringo, the greatest dog in the world, so clever, so cute, looks up, tail wagging with a self-satisfied expression, and then you notice—he’s snacking on cat droppings stolen from their litter or other droppings from outside! Oh no! That’s disgusting! How could you!? You’re remembering the last time he licked your face… than start to feel queasy.

It’s gross but true: Many dogs enjoy eating poop. Their own, other dogs’, cats’, they’re not really picky. Whether it’s because the waste retains some of the smells of undigested matter that is appealing, or whether it’s a reaction to boredom is less important than breaking your dog of this undesirable habit, known as coprophagia.

The biggest health issue associated with coprophagia is the potential continued transmission of parasites. If your dog eats another’s stool, parasites contained within it can be ingested, and take up residence. If your dog eats his own stool, he can be re-infected with parasites you are working to get rid of. And yes, if your dog eats parasite-infected stool and then licks your face, he can potentially transmit these parasites to you! Ew.

” I love to eat cat poop! I love to kiss my family too! “

Here are some methods you can utilize to help break your pooch of this nasty little habit:

First, be sure you’re feeding your dog a quality dog food. This will help insure the highest level of digestible content, leaving little if any undigested food matter in the feces. Also, dividing the daily intake into several smaller meals can help keep your dog more satisfied throughout the day and less interested in “snacking.” Consider vitamin and mineral supplementation, which may increase levels sufficient to dissuade your dog from this nasty noshing. Next, spend time with your dog engaged in an activity. Exercise and playtime will help keep him focused on enjoyable pastimes and less likely to forage out of boredom.

Of course, keep temptation to a minimum. That means clear the yard of waste, and have yummy treats available when you play together in that space. Your dog will start to associate the yard with something even tastier than feces. If your dog lusts after the cat’s litter box, move the litter to a place where the cat, but not the dog, has access to. Or, opt for a covered litter box to prevent trespassing.

“If you pick this up now, I’ll not be able to enjoy it later.”

If your dog remains undeterred, there are a few additives on the market designed to “ruin” the flavor of your dog’s waste. Some people have found that sprinkling a hot spice, like cayenne pepper, hot salsa, or wasabi on the stool discourages dogs from sampling. Make sure your dog doesn’t have any allergies to these things beforehand, if possible.

When walking your dog in public areas, keep a firm grip on his leash and give a sharp tug and vocal, “NO!” when you see him pulling with interest toward a foreign mound. Distract him with an alternative treat but never punish him for his weakness since it may reinforce the behavior or result in other undesirable issues.

Guilty

If your dog is “hooked” and unyielding in his appetite, talk to your SouthCare Animal Medical Center vet at your appointment, or on Airvet – our virtual exam experience. See what else you can try that’s safe and effective. There are supplements we can provide that are tasteless for your pet, but can make feces taste less desirable. Dogs are never too old to learn new tricks or better habits!

In most cases, by neutralizing your dog’s desire for and access to these forbidden delicacies, you will eventually be able to curb if not cure him of his dirty little secret and once again enjoy those happy kisses!

Cancer in Pets – The Warning Signs

Cancer in Pets

Lumps, bumps, growths, and swellings are signs indicative of health issues that could be potentially life-threatening. As our pets continue to live longer lives, it is imperative that any symptom of a tumor be examined by a veterinarian. 

TUMORS: TWO BASIC CATEGORIES

Benign tumors:
• Not generally life-threatening
• Slow growing
• Do not spread to other parts of the body
• Do not invade neighboring tissue
• Cured by surgery if the entire tumor is able to be removed

Malignant tumors:
• Generally always considered life-threatening
• Damage healthy cells
• Grow in an unrestricted way
• Invade neighboring tissue
• Spread to other parts of the body and establish growth in other areas after entering the lymphatic or circulatory system
• Result of environmental factors or hereditary/genetic sources
• Appropriate treatment dependent on the health of the animal and the size, location, and stage of the tumor

DETECTION

Veterinarians are able to detect a large number of cancers through a physical examination of the animal. Detection can occur through:

• Visual identification:
-Cancers that appear as growths or sores on or beneath the skin

• Inspection and palpation:
-Cancers under the skin
Example: Testicular or mammary gland cancers

• Hands-on examination:
-Swelling or lameness may indicate a cancer of the bone
Cancers that are found inside the body, such as in the spleen and liver, often show clinical signs before they are detected.

Common symptoms include:
• Weight loss
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Constipation
• Gastrointestinal bleeding

 

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Companion animals are living longer today. Good food and living conditions plus increased and better opportunities for health care, are all indicative of our desire to have our pets live a good, long life. Since most cancers are discovered in middle-aged and senior dogs, clients need to remain vigilant with their veterinary visits if they want to detect a cancer in its earliest stage. One recommendation is that healthy animals seven years and older be given at least one yearly examination.

Pet parents need to know that the annual physical examinations provide baselines and screening information that could reveal the start of a change in the health of their pet. Early detection could improve the prognosis and prolong the animal’s life expectancy.


Yearly checkups may include:

• Physical examination
• Complete blood count
• Blood chemistries
• Urinalysis
• Parasite check
• Liver and kidney function tests
• Thyroid levels
• Chest x-ray
• Electrocardiogram
• Early renal disease health screen

Click to learn about: SouthCare – Preventative Care Exams

WARNING SIGNS

During the time between the yearly examinations, it is a good idea for clients to be aware of the warning signs of cancer. Any of the following symptoms indicate a need to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian.
• Lumps that do not go away, or ones that grow in size
• Abnormal odors
• Wounds that do not heal
• Abnormal discharges, such as blood, pus, diarrhea, vomiting
• Anemia
• Bloating
• Sudden weight loss
• Change in appetite
• Coughing
• Breathing difficulties
• Lethargy
• Depression
• Changes in urinary or bowel habits
• Pain
• Limping
• Swelling
The warning signs do not always mean to expect a diagnosis of cancer; but if they do, clients who know to be watchful, observant, and to contact their veterinarian right away, may help to save their pet’s life.

Click to learn about: SouthCare – Cancer Care

If you’re concerned about the health of your pet, or it’s been a while since their last exam – CALL US to schedule an appointment.  SouthCare: 509-448-4480  OR Click Here to Request an Exam

Four Steps to Help Fido’s Anxiety

Four Steps to Help Fido’s Anxiety

No matter how much we love our dog, leaving the house and the dog home alone is a part of life as a pet owner. For some dogs, this can cause anxiety and stress, resulting in mild to severe separation anxiety. Some breeds are more prone to it, and life changes, like a move to a new house or the loss of an important person, can cause it. It’s important to remember some of the symptoms of separation anxiety are similar to other behavioral conditions, such as a dog that is not fully house-trained. If you suspect your dog is suffering from anxiety, monitor and record his behavior patterns to discuss them with your veterinarian.

“He’ll be right back…right? OOOOhhhhhh Nooooo! What if he doesn’t come back?!”

How Can I Help My Dog?

Separation anxiety can be hard on you as the pet owner too. If you have concern over your dog’s behaviors that may include urinating or defecating, excessive barking and howling, trying to escape or being destructive while you are away, try these four steps to help with the dog’s separation anxiety.

  1. Take a walk-  The physical stimulation will help tire the dog out and you will leave him in a quiet, resting mode. If you can’t take a walk, playing together or working on training before you leave will help mentally exhaust your dog before you depart.
  2. Don’t make it a big deal- Don’t pet your dog, talk to him or make eye contact when you leave — or even when you first return home. This helps him learn time apart is just business as usual.
  3. Start small- Leave the dog alone for five minutes, then extend the time to 20 minutes, then to one hour. Continue to increase your time away until you’re able to leave for a full eight hours without problems occurring. Use treats and praise as positive reinforcement when your dog responds well.
  4. Stay calm- The dog can sense your concerned and guilty feelings as you’re getting ready to leave. When you’re calm and confident and project the energy that everything will be okay, the dog’s anxiousness will decrease.

Is Your Dog Still Suffering?

If these steps don’t help your dog’s separation anxiety, ask your veterinarian to consider medical problems that may be contributing to the behaviors, such as incontinence or a medication that causes frequent urination. If behavior problems persist, a certified applied animal behaviorist or certified professional dog trainer may be able to help the dog with more complex counter-conditioning or desensitization.

Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed too, but for best results, these drugs should be used along with a training plan to help the dog learn how to handle being left alone. Consider leaving your dog with a friend or family member, taking him to a doggie daycare or even taking your dog to work with you, if you can, while you help your dog cope with anxiety in the short term.

Will Crate Training Help Separation Anxiety?

Some dogs respond well to crate training because they learn their crate is a safe place to go. But for others, it can cause added stress and anxiety. Owners can observe the dog when he’s left in the crate while you are home. If he is panting heavily, trying to escape or persistently barking/howling, you may consider confining your dog to one room behind a baby gate instead. Leaving busy toys for distraction, or clothes you’ve recently worn as a scent cue can help your dog too.

 

Remember …

Treatment can be a gradual process. As you work with your dog through the separation anxiety, it’s important to remember you should not scold or punish your dog. Anxious behaviors are a distress response, and not a result of disobedience. If you punish him, he may become more upset and the problem could worsen.

 

Does your pet suffer from Separation Anxiety, and you feel like you’ve tried everything?

Schedule a Behavior Consultation appointment with our very own Dr. Annika Benedetto! She loves helping families with pets that have challenges. Dr. Benedetto can asses your pet and their environment to provide your family with a training protocol aimed to reduce stress for the whole household.

Sources:

ASPCA – Separation Anxiety

PetMD – Behavioral Conditions: Separation Anxiety

Humane Society- Does your dog freak out when you leave?

AKC – Expert Advice: Training – Separation Anxiety

 

When should you take your pet to the vet for eye problems?

Is your dog pawing at its eye? Does it have a green discharge? Is your cat’s eye bulging?

Sometimes, it’s difficult to determine when a condition is serious enough to take your pet to the veterinarian.

However, when it comes to eyes, even minor symptoms can be signals of serious eye disease.

EXAMINE YOUR PET FOR WARNING SIGNS OF EYE PROBLEMS
Whenever a pet shows any signs of discomfort near or observable changes to their eyes, the animal needs to be examined. Look for warning indications in your dog:

#1. Does Your Pet Have Eye Pain?

Green Discharge

Signs:

Squinting or closing the eye
Excessive tearing
Light sensitivity
Tenderness to the touchProtruding nictitating membrane
Behavioral changes, for example:
Loss of appetite
Whining
Pawing or rubbing at the eye.

#2. Have Your Pet’s Eyes Changed in Appearance?

Noticeable differences in the animal’s eyes may indicate a problem.

Physical changes in:

Size
Shape
Color

Your cat or dog may be experiencing a problem caused by an inner eye disease. Signs of these diseases are indicated by changes in eye pressure and an abnormal firmness or swelling of the eyeball. These symptoms could be related to diseases such as:

Pupils:

Are they equal in size?
When light is shined directly into the eye, do they contract?
Are they dilated?

Anisocoria – uneven pupils

Eye discharge:
Watery
Thick green or yellow
Mucoid
Is there any indication of pain?
Loss of clarity or transparency, with the cornea appearing:

Smoky
Cloudy
Blue-gray
Entirely opaque
Is there any sign of associated pain?

#3. Is the Surface of Your Pet’s Eyeball Smooth?

When examining the surface of the eyeball, you probably will not be able to look at the eye beneath the skin and eyelids and may need to take your dor or cat to a veterinarian immediately. When examining the surface of the eyeball, the veterinarian will look for indications of:

Corneal abrasions
Ulcers

Corneal Ulcer

#4. Do Your Pet’s Eyes Appear Unusually Sunken or Bulgy?

Glaucoma
Uveitis
This is an examination that is usually and more safely conducted by your veterinarian. Please do not attempt to assess your pet’s eyes, as the eye and surrounding tissue is quite delicate.

The veterinarian may begin this examination by closing the pet’s eyelids and gently pressing on the surface of the eye. This helps them determine if there is a difference between the feel of the eyes; for example, if one feels harder or softer than the other. Additionally, this will provide information to let them know if the eye is tender to the touch as the animal will react with a show of pain. Knowing there is pain may help to point to the cause of the problem.

If the animal’s eye is bulging, it may be the start of an abscess, hematoma, or tumor. This part of the examination will also check for:

Swelling of the face around the eye
Tenderness to the globe when lightly pressed with a finger
Signs the animal has difficulty opening and closing their mouth
Evidence of a head injury.

#5. Is Your Pet Losing Vision?

Similar to a vision test for humans, when checking a dog or cat for vision loss, one eye will be covered while the other is not. Move as if you are going to touch the uncovered eye, and if the animal can see, it will blink as the finger gets closer to its eye.

TAKE YOUR PET TO YOUR VETERINARIAN
If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, get it to your veterinarian right away. The basic steps of an eye examination help the veterinarian uncover initial information. Based upon these findings, the veterinarian will be able to identify the next step to take toward determining a final diagnosis of the your pet’s eye condition.

Call us or CLICK HERE to schedule your pet’s eye exam.

Tick Paralysis “Help! My dog can’t walk!”

Tick Paralysis

What do you do when your dog suddenly becomes paralyzed? You search for the tick!

Lola came in this morning tetraparetic, which means shes couldn’t move any of her legs. After locating and removing a tick Lola could walk again 6 hours later!

Drs. Coulson and Benoit explain more about tick paralysis in this video below:

 

A few weeks later we had yet ANOTHER tick paralysis patient! Here’s more information from Dr. Patterson.

Learn more about ticks here:

Spring Tick Season

 

Holiday Recipes For Your Pets

The holiday season is, once again, upon us. Family members may come from all corners of the globe to celebrate with us. Fido may also enjoy this time – not only are there extra pats on the head to go around, but there may be extra bits of dropped food too! We all want to snuggle on the couch with our pets. At times it might be safer for our pets to be entertained with snacks that keep them busy instead of under your feet in the kitchen.

 

 

If you would like to include your pet in the festivities, there are safe and healthy ways to do it.  A favorite trick of ours is to stuff a rubber pet toy with treats and let your critters lick it out. Kongs along with West Paw Toppl, Qwizl and Tux toys are great options. We do offer these toys in our clinic, if you would like to check them out. If your pets are skilled at treat extraction from the toys you can pop them in the freezer to harden the goodies. This way your pet will have to try extra hard (and will take a bit longer) to get the treat.

 

What stuff should you stuff with? A classic favorite is peanut butter, pay close attention to make sure that your brand does not contain xylitol which is toxic to pets. For cat toys, tuna is extra stinky and tasty for them. If your pet is on a specialized prescription diet, a wet version of this food could be used. Both cats and dogs will appreciate meat flavored baby foods too! During the holiday season people are treated with extra special home-made foods. Why shouldn’t your pets be treated to the same delights?

 

 

 

Here’s a list of holiday recipes for our furry family members:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothies

Ingredients:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup unsweetened applesauce

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, pumpkin puree and applesauce until mixed thoroughly. Spoon into your favorite dog toy and wrap in cling wrap. Place in the freezer for roughly 4 hours, or until frozen solid. When ready, remove the cling wrap and let your pet enjoy!

 

 

Roasted Turkey & Cranberry Stuffing

Ingredients:
6 oz roasted boneless turkey
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup quinoa flour
1/8 cup dried cranberries (this can be optional for our feline friends)

Directions:
Blend turkey, carrot, quinoa flour and cranberries in a food processor. Roll the doughy mixture into 1-2-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and allow to cool. Place your stuffing balls into your pets’ toy. Depending on the size of your toy, you can seal up the opening with a glaze of peanut butter to make sure your balls don’t roll right out.

 

 

Sweet Potato Cookies

Ingredients:
1 large cooked sweet potato
1 banana
½ cup quinoa flour
½ tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:
In a medium bowl, mix banana, sweet potato and vegetable oil until well blended. Mix in quinoa flour until well blended. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely and serve in a toy or give as is.

 

Frozen Feast

Ingredients:
Thanksgiving / Holiday leftovers!
Great options include:
cranberries
steamed broccoli
turkey
brussels sprouts
and more!
Things to avoid:
Onion
Garlic
Xylitol – sugar substitute
Foods high in fat – bacon, etc.

Directions:
Simply combine all the tiny bits of leftovers and stuff them into your pets’ toy. Wrap in cling wrap and freeze. Unwrap and serve to your pets that need a bit of distraction during the bustling holiday season.

The best part about these recipes, they only take minutes to prepare! A spoiled pet and no food waste make for a happy holiday season!